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Egg day: the most dreaded day of culinary school.
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Like some useful cooking tips and life lessons I picked up during class.
What is egg day? Well, it's the dreaded day of culinary school when you cook egg after egg until you finally learn how to do it right. After hundreds of messed up attempts (literally hundreds), I learned a few tricks for getting them just right...
The first rule for making just about any style of eggs is to go low and slow — I understand that crispy eggs with super browned edges are trendy right now, but if I presented one of those to my teacher I would instantly fail. Why? Because (traditionally speaking) browned eggs are tough and dry. You want them to be white, soft, and tender — so turn that heat down and be patient.
Nonstick pans aren't ideal for most things (they don't get very hot, they scratch), but they're absolutely perfect for cooking eggs. Sure, you can make eggs in a regular ol' pan, but there's a good chance your eggs might stick to the bottom. Get yourself a good nonstick pan ($22 on Amazon) and bust it out anytime you wanna cook up some eggs — it really does make it easier.
Alright, alright, lemme hear it: "You can't use metal on a nonstick pan!" Well, yes, I get that you shouldn't, but the thin, flexible blade is the absolute best thing for gently flipping eggs. If you're worried about scratching your pan, coated or plastic fish spatulas ($13 on Amazon) will prevent this but still get under the egg with ease.
To really tell how fresh your eggs are, check the Julian date — this number ranges from 1 to 365 (1 representing January first) and tells you when the eggs were actually packed. The sell-by date is a decent way of checking, but it doesn't really tell you exactly how old they are. (The Julian date can get a bit tricky to figure out, so use this handy tool to easily calculate it.)
And if you really wanna get fancy, blitz the eggs in a blender until smooth then pass them through a strainer ($13.97 on Amazon). This makes sure the eggs are completely homogenous and removes any impurities that would prevent them from getting creamy. Don't believe me? Thomas Keller (one of the most OG chefs of them all) swears by this technique.
Eggs are delicate, and they cook very quickly. Similar to cooking steaks, remove them from the heat right before they're fully cooked — the residual heat from the pan will continue to cook them.
As soon as you add your eggs to the pan, STIR STIR STIR! Grab some chopsticks (at least that's what we used in school) and just stir the shit out of them. Doing so will break down the eggs and create smaller curds, thus making a creamier scramble.
Always crack your eggs into a small bowl (or even into a ladle) before adding them into the boiling water. This will prevent the egg from going everywhere and allow you to gently transfer them into the water. Using fresh eggs also helps them keep their shape and stay nice and round.
Older eggs are easier to peel, and fresh ones are a total pain to peel. The explanation is a bit complicated, but it basically comes down to the egg whites shrinking just enough to make peeling easier.
Every recipe tells you exactly how long to boil your eggs for — however, these cooking times assume you're using cold eggs, not eggs that have been sitting on the counter for a while. To prevent your eggs from unintentionally overcooking, grab them straight out of the fridge and use them while they're still cold.
Peel eggs under cold, running water, and always start peeling them from the air pocket. (This is the bottom of the egg where a tiny bubble of air is trapped — peeling it from there prevents you from tearing the egg apart.)
If you have any leftover eggs (or plan to eat them at a later date), store them in cold water in the fridge. This will prevent them from drying out and getting hard. (To reheat them, just pop them in some warm water for one or two minutes.)
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